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Bill Maher - New Rules

The president is no math wiz, James Bond has returned, the Bush twins are a little buzzed, and the Democrats have set a new direction. Check out the HBO site Bill has additional video available.

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Real Time with Bill Maher



Hahahah, an atheist getting elected ... not any time soon sadly.

Insightful comment on Thomas Jefferson. Here's the weblink to the letter:

Middle of last big paragraph is where you will find Jefferson referring to the necessary need for evaluation of the Constitution every generation (or 20 years as he calls it).


Corporate personhood is not in the constitution.

Jefferson thought that we should re-write the Constitution every generation, but he wasn't involved in writing it. Others who were involved did not take this radical view. Madison disagreed strongly with this idea. I'm more with Madison, but it should not be as hard to amend the constitution as it is. Most state constitutions are much easier to amend, and it has not caused serious problems (except when you allow initiatives to amend the constitution).

Bill shows a complete lack of understanding about what the electoral college does for America. It's one of the most brilliant aspects of the constitution and is absolutely crucial to the long term health of America.

It got it wrong twice in elections that were statistical ties. Other than those two times, it has magnified the popular vote.

It gives minorities a voice they would otherwise not have.

It forces candidates to shape a national message that they would otherwise not need.

I don't understand the electoral college as well as I should. But my gripe with it is that in far too many states, the ones that lean heavily one way or the other, the minority voice is completely ignored. If you want to vote republican for president and live in illinois, your vote is really just symbolic. If we went to a straight popular vote system I think that more people would feel like their vote mattered, and consequently (hopefully) would be more involved in the whole process.

Snak, that's a common argument against the Electoral College. And it's certainly a valid one.

But no matter what system you use, many people will be left out of the campaign process. Just ask anyone who lives in Western Canada.

As it stands now, states that aren't close aren't as heavily campaigned in during presedential elections. But in popular votes, states that aren't high in population will be ignored. With the Electoral College, states like Tennessee, Iowa, and New Mexico got serious exposure in the last couple elections.

There's no way things like that happen without the EC. And many states change over time. States with fewer electoral votes can become absolutely crucial in different elections. This wouldn't happen with a popular vote.

Andy, do you think the smaller states would really miss the innundation of politicians around election time?? No, I expect what they would miss is all the pork that gets lavished on them.

Most of the democracies on this planet do not have an electoral college. In fact, I'm unaware of any other democracy that decided this "innovation" was a good idea. Having said that, I am no historian.

With the college, someone's presidential or senatorial vote in a less populous state is worth much more than someone's vote in a populous state, and hence their state is disproportionately pandered to. I don't see how that is fair. Should rural states really get a larger share of federal pork just because they have fewer people? US federal farm subsidies are one of the most disruptive and dangerous forces on this planet, and partly they're there because of the electoral college.

(Why? A fair proportion of those subsides are spent on tractor fuel to grow corn to feed cows - cows which would feed fine on grass, but growing grass doesn't attract subsidies...)

Hence, I'm will Bill on this one.

Great point about TJ as well. I'll hang onto that one.

Seth, I think one of the reasons other democracies haven't gone with a system like the EC is because of the sheer size difference. USA is absolutely huge compared to most other democracies. It's one of the reasons I talked about Canada. The population of Canada lies mostly in the East, so candidates essentially ignore the West.

Pork, to me, has more to do with senators rather than the EC. Does getting pork for Alaska with repub. senators help repubs in presedential elections? I suppose, but it's not the main symptom.

If you want to get rid of the senate, more power to you. But the EC is about that. The president of the USA needs to shape a national message. That's the ultimate goal of the EC and it works better than any other system in the world.

Another thing is that other than the two elections that were statistical ties, the EC actually magnifies the popular vote.

My favorite explanation of the EC was something I read a long time ago. It uses the 1960 World Series as an example. In 1960, the Pirates beat the Yankees 4 games to 3. But if you add up the runs scored in all the games, the Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27. Every game the Yankees won, they did so by 13,10, and 12 runs. The Pirates won games by 2, 1, 3, and 1. The Pirates shaped a national message, so to speak, and deserved the win.

I'm not an expert, but everyone I've talked to who is has been adament in the absolute brilliance of the EC.

Finally, every 100 years, someone will get screwed and the party that gets screwed will call for the end of the EC. First it was the repubs, then it was the dems. Anything that gets both parties upset must be working well IMHO.


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